Mark Sullivan (
Mon, 11 Jan 1999 14:03:34 -0500 (EST) Add me to the fans of The Ax. I agree with Ted about the unclean
feeling, but I think that was part of the book's power, holding you for
so long before you realize just what you are condoning. Just as Ted
said, the surface feeling at the end is one of "happiness," the plan
worked, he had the job. He clearly thinks he can go back to who he was,
but the reader knows he can't, he has already changed too much. Ted
also noted the erosion of the protagonist's trust in society, how he had
seceded from it, lost all trust in it, put a moat around himself and his
family. And that is what gives the book its satiric punch. It becomes
a scathing critique of corporate policies, noting how it erodes man's
loyalties. This is fairly common in Brit books I've read dealing with
the fallout of the Thatcher/Major era, less so in the US.

And that's what makes The Ax different from Cold Caller. However good
the latter may be, and it is a pretty good update of the Thompson vein,
it is the story of one man. Westlake is clearly making a larger point.


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